As social media is a huge part of this generation, it takes most people away from the memories being made right in front of their eyes. In today's generation, we tend to miss the greater moments that piece us together, make us whole and mold us into the people we are becoming or have become. We are so tangled in this mess that lures us in with its addicting presence -- but why is it so addicting? We feel the need to seek the approval of others, to try to be correct in situations that don't even affect us, or try to be something we're not due to the fear we have of being ourselves. Social media, for the most part, essentially has no importance to our lives because the way I see it, it does not better us in any way, but instead pulls us from the important moments in our lives. So put down your phone (after reading this, of course), get ice cream with your sister, laugh with your friends, go spend time on that family trip and tell the people in your life that you love them, because being so caught up in the social web can take time away from the most memorable moments in your life, which should be cherished. Forget about social media and make your life worth living. Life passes us by in the blink of an eye, and it'll slip right though your fingertips if you're not looking. Don't waste so much of your time immersed in a world full of things that are taking you away from the unforgettable memories you should be making -- after all, it's the little things that count.
Little things remind me all the time.
For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"
It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?
I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.
Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.
I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.
I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.
Everyone hears conversations about social media every day. Maybe it is about what a "friend" posted or a funny video that got shared. The one I am starting to hear more is that social media is affecting their health and disturbing their sense of inner peace. At one point, I thought the only people who said something bad about social media were older people, especially ones that dislike new technology. Now, I hear my peers talking about deactivating Facebook or Instagram accounts because of how intrusive it is. I myself have felt the negative effects of social media.
Obviously, there is no black and white answer on how to approach this. But social media is just like anything else we enjoy in life, it has to be used with moderation. Just like social media, you can spend too much time eating, exercising, playing video games, drinking, etc. Moderation is something that every human being has to strive for. Moderation with social media has become an important goal everyone should pursue. I would like to share some of my personal suggestions on ways to enjoy social media in a healthy and wholesome way.
My first suggestion is to limit social media use to the weekends. I began doing this after noticing how much I wasted time during the week checking Facebook. It prevented me from focusing on assignments and studying for my classes. Social media also distracts you from paying attention to the friends closest to you physically. If someone needs to contact you, they have your phone number. As a result, I have been more productive and attentive to my friends and family.
Second, limit the number of posts you read on your newsfeed. Depending on the number of "friends" you have, your newsfeed will have a seemingly infinite number of posts to read. You can't read every single one. Consider that when you also post something to your newsfeed and you don't get a reaction or like. It is not because people don't care, it is because of the heavy internet traffic for social media posts that they skim on their feed.
Third, don't have social media on your phone. In the past, when I made a goal to cut down on social media time, I kept failing because it was on my phone. The temptation was too great. Then I figured it out, uninstall it from your phone, problem solved. I only check social media on my laptop. I understand that there are certain situations where it needs to be on your phone, but I believe those situations are rare. As I mentioned before, if it is urgent, people can call or text you. Give your phone number to someone you think may have to contact you.
Fourth, do not use social media for political or religious discussions! The only exception to this is commenting on a political page, like President Trump's facebook profile or a Democrat Party page. However, I stay away from those anyway because people are insulting each other, never discussing the issue. Either way, social media posts are usually short, which makes it impossible to have a productive conversation or even have your mind changed. Let's be honest, when has a tweet or Facebook post changed your mind on an issue? I used to post about politics in the 2016 election, trying to change minds. And guess what happened? Not one person changed their position. I only had the same people agree or disagree with me. The only wholesome political conversations I have had are with people face to face, not over Facebook. Plus political posts are almost always negative. Why go on social media if it only makes you more pessimistic or angry?
These are just some of my ideas. There are other speakers out there that love to share their suggestions. Perhaps you should brainstorm ideas on how to lessen the negative influence of social media in your life.